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5 Ways to Master Your Inner Critic [AKA “Bitch Brain”]

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Hi, I’m Alex!

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Your brain can cause your body’s cravings. 
The four root causes of cravings are bacterial, nutritional, emotional, and physical. (But most experts and diet books don’t talk about the emotions of food, do they?)

Today I want to talk about one of the most common forms of emotional craving:
the frustration and fear caused by the inner critic.

I’ve been interviewing health coaches who want to grow their business as they heal their own health concerns, and I’m hearing a lot of “bitch brain” issues. This is a term I created while writing Women, Food, and Desire, and it struck a chord with many readers…

5 ways to handle your


Bitch Brain is a way I describe your inner critic – the voice that stops you from taking risks, speaking your truth, and gets in the way of your desires.

Women often grapple with self-confidence and doubt because we are connected to our life’s desires, and expose ourselves to the fear and failure of going after what we truly want.

Here’s how the Bitch Brain, or inner critic, or “BB” for short, messes with your life:

…you want to create your own business, but the bitch brain (AKA inner critic) tells us we don’t have enough experience…and eat more sugar to handle the frustration induced exhaustion.

…you dream about helping others with your health coaching knowledge, but the inner critic says “you still have your own health problems, how could you help someone else?”…and you end up overeating at night to try and silence the discomfort.

…you have an old voice from your mother that repeats about how a nice girl should act, and it keeps you from daring to ask for more or demand justice…and you drink a few glasses of wine every night to try and relax.

…you know you have a purpose in life, and have tried lots of educational programs or read all the self-help books, but your inner critic tells you “why bother?” so often you feel totally bummed out and confused about what to do next…so you keep eating the foods that keep your energy low and mind fuzzy because, again, “why bother?”

The inner critic can be deadly.
It can rob you of your vitality and resilience.

And the bitch brain can be handled. But only with love and awareness.

Here are 5 things you must know to handle the inner critic:

 

  1. The inner critic is not you. It is thoughts about you, but it is not who you actually are. You may have internalized other people’s voices from such a young age that it’s hard to tell the difference between them and you.
  2. See it and say it. To separate yourself from your bitch brain, you must become aware of it and label what you hear. It’s pretty simple. Say to yourself, or declare to a trusted friend, “I hear my inner critic right now and it’s saying ____.” When you say it out loud and label it,  you can start to see the repetitive, inaccurate nature of the criticism.
  3. Identify a good reason for the criticism. When you start to hear the critic, bitching away again, step back and ask it, “What are you trying to protect me from right now? What are you afraid might happen if I do this thing I want to do?” The answer is usually the same: fear of failure, losing love or respect, fear of attack or embarrassment. Once you see the reasons for the critic acting up, you can say, with genuine care, “Thank you for trying to protect me. I hear you.” We must love our inner critic otherwise we get stuck in a war with ourselves, which never ends well. Calming the voice with love is super important because…
  4. The Bitch Brain is hurting your body. When the inner critic causes a release of stress hormones in the body, we end up in a state of health disarray. Stress keeps weight on, especially around the middle belly, causes adrenal exhaustion, sleep trouble, and ages you faster. In the face of all that, #5 is even more important!
  5. Laugh it off. Survivors in life-threatening situations all have one thing in common: a sense of humor. Humor is a good strategy to help you find what is ridiculous. Your inner critic might say “Don’t offer your health coaching services! They might find out you eat chocolate every night and then you’ll be called a liar and end up penniless and alone under a bridge!” Really, BB? If people find out I eat chocolate I’ll end up alone, penniless and under a bridge? Chill out!”

 

Give your BB some space to be heard.

Spend 10 minutes writing out your thoughts to these questions and see how much more calm you feel:

 

What does your BB/inner critic say when you want to speak up about an injustice or problem at work or in the home?

What does your BB/inner critic say about a career choice you dream about making?

What does our BB/inner critic say when you want to dress up? When you pass by a mirror? When you want to try a new class? When you want to travel? When you want to ask for a date? For sex? For a vacation? For time alone? For time together?

Use the 5 insights to help you calm your BB.
Know that you are wired for the inner critic, that you’re not crazy, wrong, or bad…that your very human brain is trying to keep you safe.

Then thank it, and keep moving forward.
Xo,
alexsign

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